Does The Future Of Internet Commerce Look Like QVC?

Internet retailers may soon embrace video product demonstrations to boost stagnant customer satisfaction levels. Though internet commerce has kept pace with technological changes, many consumers still expect an even richer experience.

Now some observers predict a future where online retailers will essentially adopt something like the QVC model, with sales staff pitching the site’s merchandise with polished video presentations, produced in a high-tech television studio.

Online retailers are also expected to increase their spending on customer service by 32%. As we have shown before, investing in customer service is good for the bottom line – maybe even better than videos.

To Raise Shopper Satisfaction, Web Merchants Turn to Videos [NYT]
(Photo: Looking Glass)

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  1. Secularsage says:

    I actually think this is a great idea, as long as it’s optional and the price isn’t passed on the consumer. I don’t have any problem with new, entertaining product pitches so long as I don’t have to sit through them OR pay extra just so I can buy crappy merchandise.

  2. mantari says:

    First off, I wouldn’t put a dime of credibility into anything that is opined by Forrester Research. Their ‘research’ is often paid-for by corporations who want to send out a message from a “neutral third party research group”. LOL.

    Now, here’s an entry at buy.com (for the Nokia 770) which does the QVC model. It isn’t taking over. It looks like a small supplement for some sites to add extra attention to an item. The Web is NOT becoming QVC:

    http://www.buy.com/prod/nokia-770-internet-tablet-internet-tablet-2006-software-edition/q/loc/101/204081472.html

  3. TechnoDestructo says:

    I predict I will buy less stuff online.

  4. alpha says:

    does looks likes yesses??!?

    proofreading >> all of consumerist these days…

  5. uricmu says:

    Maybe that’s me, but I actually miss the old textual web rather than the new video-based Web 2.0

    For example, when I wanted to read the news, I used to go to CNN.com, click on a specific article, and quickly skim it for 20 seconds and infer what I needed. Now, I go to CNN.com, and I’m provided with a five-minute long video that focuses on visuals rather than on details. That’s so great, it always reminds me of this old way I used to get my news, it was called TV, and there was even this great news channel called CNN.

    Seriously, the internet is for text and interaction. If you want to see videos of products or of the news, use your cable box, it provides a “video on demand” of CNN and QVC.

  6. chili_dog says:

    contrary to popular belief, not every internet user is connected to a DS3 with virtually unlimited download speeds to make video browsing acceptable. Besides, it’s still just “on the screen” with no real tactile perception of the product. Perhaps if retailers would just make clean, easy to navigate websites with good quality images with accurate size comparisons (i’m looking at you Apple with your huge handed iPhone model).

  7. uricmu says:

    By the way, is it just me, or does customer satisfaction come from the quality of the product itself and not from the quality of the sales pitch?

  8. CreativeLinks says:

    Why would I go to a website to watch an infomercial? Seriously.

  9. Piquant1 says:

    Video pitches(infoless infomercials) are worthless and a waste of time. If they provide useful product information, video demos would be good to help you get the most out of a product or help you determine if it is what you need. However, those demos should not replace text.

    It is great to see that companies are actually concerned about customer service and hopefully customer satisfaction.

  10. goodkitty says:

    This won’t help the industry at large. What will happen is the same thing you see now with botique stores that offer extensive customer service, on-floor demos, loaner product, and excellent post-sales support: consumers go to the fancy dealer site to choose a product, then drive over to Wal-Mart to make the actual purchase.

    What QVC has managed to do is to make shopping even more of a way of life, an exciting interactive carnival of trinkets and junk, and honestly not only do we have that now online (e.g. sites such was Woot and Newegg), but the online sites do it better. I would love to have a more sophisticated pre-sales presentation on a product, but I can just as easily saunter over to the manufacturer’s site to do that as try to figure out how to do it on a store’s web page. That isn’t possible via TV, so it’s apples-versus-oranges to think QVC will influence the web.

    I will never trust a ‘review’ by the store selling me an item, but I will trust community feedback, and I want the lowest price in nearly every instance–something QVC and work-alike sites don’t offer. (Not to mention Buy.com is an excellent example of how not to run a consumer-oriented online biz, if you’ve ever bought from them.)

  11. Oh HELLS no.

    I refuse to get information via video. It’s way too fucking slow for people who read at adult speeds. Internet video is for dramatic rodentia and Japanese game shows.

    The first site that tries to force me to shop via video, either by autoplaying that crap or by putting the information ONLY in a video, loses my business entirely.

  12. The Dude says:

    Is everyone who posts replies really that anal and ‘consumerist highbrow’ that you think video demos are a waste of time and god-forbid, the ‘cost shouldn’t be passed on to me!”

    Ok, be assured you have no say in whether costs are passed on to you, so don’t try to pretend your opinion matters on that.

    Second, video does matter, many people find it helpful, and at the very least, it’s an expansion of the product learning experience. Why trash-talk it from the get-go?

    The answer is that you are so caught up in your own little customer experience that anything that you find at all irksome you think is bad for the world. That’s not being consumerist. That’s being childish.

  13. etinterrapax says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I’m with you. I can’t stand the poky pace of video information of any kind. I won’t watch the video-only stories on CNN.com, and I definitely wouldn’t shop that way.

    For a while, it seemed like everything sold with even mildly complicated instructions came with a demo video or DVD. As a teacher, I know it can be effective to present more than one kind of material. Some people need the demo in order to understand the instructions. But I personally can’t stand them. Too slow.

  14. rjweiss68 says:

    This idea is not new. David Kuo writes in Dot Bomb that Value America, one of the early dot com retailers (remember them?), had planned to have video demos and other big-splash stuff as a differentiator. It didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, not least because the technology infrastructure back in the 90′s could not support such a thing.

  15. @etinterrapax: “As a teacher, I know it can be effective to present more than one kind of material.”

    Exactly, and as long as it’s more than one kind of material, I’m okay with it. It’s when you ONLY get the video (or the video autoloads and autoplays and clogs yer tubes) that I object.

    Same reason I don’t watch TV news — in 30 minutes, I can read nearly an entire newspaper cover to cover and learn a LOT MORE than I learn from 23ish minutes of slowwwwwww-paced news where they devote the longest stories to whatever looks sexiest with video, not what’s the most important! (At least with a newspaper you can decide the long-ass story is unimportant and move on to something else — TV insists you listen to the whole damned thing.)

  16. beyond says:

    If this proliferates it will cause a lot of problems when users are visiting sites and being hogtied with unwritten “bandwidth” limits from their providers.

  17. synergy says:

    Those QVC annoy the crap out of me! Their voices are so grating and the chant they fall into to maintain the continuous talk. Ugh.